Why I learned to make my own food and why you should too

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

I have always loved baking ever since I could remember. My childhood favorite things to bake was chocolate zucchini bread. I lived on a farm and we had a massive garden and we used our own produce as much as possible.

Then, I moved away. I am currently living on a tiny island in Japan on an American military base. We have a store that is basically a small version of Walmart that has everything we could ever need. But, there are a couple issues that I saw with that: excess plastic packaging and so many emissions required to ship my food halfway across the world. Another issue arose in January when I dove into veganism; not a lot of the food here is vegan friendly.

My love for the environment reigned supreme over my need for convenience and I decided to learn to make some pantry staples myself. I started out with sandwich bread before I even considered going vegan. This was because we ate a lot of lunch meat sandwiches. I failed and failed but I slowly learned the unwritten rules of bread making.

I got the hang of it and wanted to venture out. The next thing I tried was bagels which was also a fail the first time (mini lesson: don't give up after your first attempt, bread is hard!). I tried again, slightly altered the recipe, and I got super yummy and fluffy bagels.

After that, I ventured out of the bread realm for a little bit. Another thing I noticed that we were still buying that came in plastic was granola. Granola is one of the easiest foods you could probably ever make yourself and I bet you already have all of the ingredients. This one is great too because if you are gluten intolerant, vegan, or have a certain nut allergy, you can customize your granola easily to fit your needs.

Christmas time rolled around and we had a bunch of friends over. I basically refused to buy multiple packs of dinner rolls so I decided to make them myself. We also wanted to serve pigs in a blanket so I also made my own crescent roll dough.

Next on the list: tortillas. This was another food we were going through like crazy. We love Mexican food so tortillas are a staple in the Dendler household. In my opinion, tortillas were the easiest to tackle and the quickest to make.

Finally, my most recent endeavor: baguettes and sandwich buns. I made baguettes to take to a friends house for dinner. They turned out lovely but I still altered the recipe slightly to suit my taste. A few days later, we made vegan sloppy Joe's but I refused to buy plastic-packages buns. So, I took the baguette recipe, formed them into 8 buns versus 2 long baguettes, and bam, easy buns!

So, why did I bother telling you all this?

I am a busy woman: I work 40 hours a week, go to school part time, I have started a blog and a YouTube channel yet I still find time to bake my own food. How?

I make it one of my priorities. It is so important to me to reduce my plastic waste and my carbon footprint. I found breads one of the most wasteful things that I was still buying. As tricky as they are to learn, once you learn to make breads, it is so worth it.

So, why should you make your own food?

1. you can control your ingredients. This means no weird additives or colors, you can make it vegan if needed, you can make it any flavor you want, etc.

2. it reduces your footprint. I now buy 2-3 less items wrapped in plastic on a weekly basis. Now multiply that by weeks in the year. That is 104-156 items I alone am saving from being on this Earth forever. Imagine if 10 or 100 of you also started making a few staples yourself?

3. you will save money. A bag of flour costs about as much as a loaf of bread. If you buy a five pound bag of flour which has about 17-18 cups and a standard recipe calls for 3 cups of flour to make two loaves, you would get roughly 10-12 loaves out of one bag of flour for the same cost as one store bought loaf.

4. If you have an allergy that is hard to work around, you can customize your food to suit your needs. If you are vegan, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, have a nut allergy, etc. you can easily avoid your allergy by making your pantry staples yourself.

5. It is a great skill to have. There have been countless times where my guests or friends have been impressed that I make my own dinner rolls or baguettes. Or say you want to start living off the grid, you can still make bread for your family!

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Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! 

My name is Emma. I am a 20-year-old new to this sustainable lifestyle. I am here to give you my tips as I learn them and help beginners begin their sustainable life...


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